COLUMBUS, Ohio – CCAO President Daniel Troy, a Lake County commissioner, and Union County Commissioner Gary Lee today testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Sub SB 135, a bill that would provide counties with funding for voting equipment.
Most of Ohio’s current elections equipment was purchased in 2005 and 2006 and is nearing the end of its useful life. Sub SB 135 appropriates nearly $115 million for counties to make desperately needed upgrades to voting technology. It also creates a bipartisan committee of state and local officials to negotiate prices with vendors to ensure Ohio gets the best and lowest cost voting equipment.
“We are facing the daunting and expensive task of replacing elections machinery that is nearing the end of its reliability to perform its function. The pressure on county budgets to provide for the myriad components conducting elections has been increasing at a rate greater than our revenues,” Troy said. “What we are seeing is a true partnership between counties and the state to address this important issue. We truly appreciate this partnership to assist us in that mission, and we certainly hope it is just a beginning to a greatly enhanced relationship between the state and county governments in Ohio.”
CCAO and OAEO have been working together for over five years with the Ohio House and Senate, the Administration, and the Secretary of State to promote a state/county partnership to establish a program to provide for the acquisition and deployment of new voting equipment across Ohio prior to the 2020 presidential election.
“County government is an extension of state government that is required to deliver a variety of services including the administration of elections,” Lee said. “The bill is a big step for the state to fulfill its obligation as an election partner with Ohio’s counties. The state should provide some additional funds to counties because there will be significant costs associated with the implementation and training staff and poll workers.”
In regard to poll workers, Lee also testified in support of SB 21, which would enable a board of elections to reduce the number of poll workers in a polling location under certain circumstances.
“Poll workers are the single largest election day expense. Recruiting and retaining a sufficient number of qualified and capable poll workers is one of the major challenges facing the boards of elections,” Lee said. “The efficiency that has been gained through the use of centralized check-in and e-poll books is bringing us to the point where four poll workers in each precinct in a multi-precinct polling location are no longer needed. CCAO believes that SB 21 is the next, critical step the legislature can take to help boards of elections with this challenge.”
The County Commissioners Association of Ohio advances effective county government for Ohio through legislative advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and research, quality enterprise service programs, and greater citizen awareness and understanding of county government.